Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Richard and Rose are back!
My first published book has just been reissued! Lightly re-edited, YORKSHIRE is the first book featuring Richard and Rose, and is available from Mundania in print or ebook form! I am thrilled to see them back again, finally Rose will be able to continue her story!
When Rose Golightly accompanies her family on a visit to their cousins in Yorkshire, she finds a run down house, not the society gathering she and her sister are hoping for. Lord Hareton has deliberately run down the once great Hareton Abbey until it’s a near ruin. The only other guests at Hareton are the twin Kerre brothers, intimidating and haughty leaders of society, together with the fiancée of the older brother.
Richard Kerre, Lord Strang is badly injured in the same accident that kills her cousins and Rose is forced into the position of nurse--and detective. The attraction between Richard and Rose is instant and undeniable, but Richard is to marry the frigid Julia Cartwright in a few weeks, and has deliberately closed his heart to love. In order to offer Rose his heart he must extricate himself from an engagement he has long come to regret.
When they discover that what at first appeared accidental was in fact a deliberate act of sabotage, Richard and Rose set out to solve the mystery. Can Rose trust her instincts, ignoring Richard's reputation as a seducer and give him everything she has to offer? Can they clear Rose's family name by discovering her cousins’ murderer?
Lord Strang walked into the coach house.
His held his injured arm in a sling fastened around his neck, and he was dressed simply in a country frock coat, slung around his shoulders against the cold. No make up or expensive satin today. He looked comfortable, at ease, far more human than he had when he first stepped out of his coach the previous Monday and far more like his brother, but I would never have confused them.
He stopped when he saw me and looked me over, slowly. I felt dowdy and provincial, under his even gaze, and dropped my eyes. He came quickly towards me, and then stopped again suddenly, a few paces short of me. Regaining my courage I lifted my head and we regarded each other steadily. “Good morning, ma’am,” he greeted me, bowing.
“Good morning, my lord,” I replied. “Do you feel better today?”
“A good deal better, thank you,” he replied. “Sleep and rest seem to have restored me almost to my old self. But not quite,” he added in a quieter, more reflective tone.
I glanced at the sling, expertly tied, no doubt by his resourceful manservant. “You look much better, sir. I hope your arm does well now.”
An easy, genuine smile transformed his grave features into something else, making him look like any other man—almost. It went right through me. “I hope so too,” he agreed. “Carier certainly seems pleased with its progress.”
I felt uncomfortable, stilted. “Your man seems very capable with injuries,” I commented, trying very hard to keep up a normal conversation. “I didn’t think it was considered usual in a manservant.”
“He joined me on the Grand Tour, direct from the army,” he replied. He didn’t seem aware of my awkwardness. I thanked the Lord for good manners. “He served a general for several years and took an interest in helping the wounded. He dealt with much worse there, or so he would have me believe.”
I found it difficult to take my eyes off Lord Strang, but I knew I must do something to stop myself, or he might notice. I felt awkward and ungainly as I always did in difficult situations. My inner feelings intensified it all, made it even worse. Partly to give myself an excuse to take my eyes away from him and partly on an impulse I turned away for a moment and picked up the cut strap. “Sir, the most dreadful thing!” I began, and turned back to him.
His gaze had gone to the strap in my hand, and he must have seen what I did. He took the step that brought him to my side. “Good God!” he exclaimed. Taking the strap from me he turned it over so he could examine it from both sides.
We stood side by side and stared at that strap for a while in silence, for far too long. Then I found my voice at last; “It has been cut, hasn’t it sir?”
I smelled him now. An unidentifiable scent of manhood mixed with something of citrus, too agreeable for comfort. I wanted to move away, but thought he might realise something was wrong if I did. I would be deeply mortified if that were to happen. It was bad enough to have this crazy infatuation – much worse if he knew it.
“There’s no doubt about it,” he replied gravely. “Look, it’s been cut nearly through. I’m surprised the coach got as far as it did.”
He dropped the strap as though it had become suddenly hot, and went round to the other side of the coach to examine the strap on that side, but I didn’t follow him. I needed time to get my breath back. His presence so close hit me like a blow to the stomach, especially in the way he had taken me by surprise by walking in so unexpectedly. I put my head back and took some deep, clear breaths of the chilly morning air, pulled it down into my lungs in an effort to clear my head. Slowly, I regained my self control.
Lord Strang walked round the coach slowly and carefully, examining it closely at several points, then he came back to where I stood. “This is very serious indeed,” he said, thoughtfully, but he didn’t say, as I thought he might, we would have to tell someone at once. So, I said it. With two of us so certain, surely someone should be informed. “Shouldn’t we tell someone?” I asked, tentatively.
Impulsively, I turned towards him, but he was standing too close. I drew breath and smelled him, the perfume he used and that unfamiliar smell of masculinity. I could almost feel his warmth. Then I let my eyes meet his in a careless second. Everything rushed in on me, on his blue gaze. I was lost.
To my amazement, there seemed to be a similar response in him. His eyes widened in disbelief and the breath caught in his throat. He said, “You too? Oh dear God!” and without any more words, he drew me to him with his good arm and kissed me.
Tiny tentative kisses at first, gentle, the kind one might give a friend at greeting, but they soon changed to passionate and demanding when, despite my good intentions, I responded. This, I thought firmly to myself, is not happening! I didn’t pull away. I wrapped my arms around him instead, and touched him properly for the first time. His hard body tensed under the fine linen shirt.
I’d never known anything remotely like this before, this aching desire that betrayed all my self-control. Living in an overcrowded manor house had taught me powers of discretion no one else had been able to break through, not even Steven, although he had tried. While every sensible bone in my body screamed for me to pull away, to get away, my treacherous arms wouldn’t push, and my legs seemed to be rooted to the spot. With those kisses, he unlocked something I had only been aware of dimly before. Passion.
He bent his head to kiss my neck. Now I could call out, now I could say something, but I only sighed with longing. My throat arched, his kisses burned my skin. I wanted him to continue, but he pushed me away, gasping, “No!”
My astonishment reflected in his eyes as we stood and stared at each other. All my good resolutions had gone dissolved away in the wake of passion. Only aware of him as he looked at me, I tried to think, stay calm, in control of myself, but had to fight for it like never before.
“Someone told me you were dangerous,” I said, quietly. My voice shook despite my best efforts to keep it steady.
“Then you have me at a disadvantage, for no one told me how dangerous you are,” he said in his soft, low voice. I stared at him uncomprehendingly, and a heavy silence fell between us.
I heard the groom outside singing; I heard the horses in their boxes. I thought I had better go. Finally regaining control of my body I turned away, but he said abruptly, “Come and talk. I promise I’ll behave.” And I knew I too felt the need to talk about this, to see if it was real.
I followed him to the back of the coach house where there were a couple of bales of hay, and we sat down side by side, careful not to touch. I felt the shock of his arm around me, the desire in his kiss. I still trembled.
I dared not look at him again. Staring at my trembling hands, I tried to control them, gripping them tightly, watching the knuckles turn white. The dark red scab of the scrape split a little and oozed drops of bright red blood.
Richard and Rose are back!
Order Page: http://yorkshire.notlong.com/
ISBN: 978-1-59426-296-8 paperback, 978-1-59426-297-5 ebook